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Woolgoolga

Woolgoolga is a town on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

Details

  • Area:54.773 km2
  • Elevation:16 m
  • Population:5,290
  • Local Government Area:Coffs Harbour City Council

Description

Woolgoolga is a town on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. It is on the Pacific Highway, approximately 550 km north of Sydney and 365 km south of Brisbane. The closest city to Woolgoolga is Coffs Harbour, which lies 25.8 km to the south. Woolgoolga has two beaches on the Pacific Ocean. The area has long been a centre of banana growing in New South Wales, but this industry has declined in the face of competition from Queensland. Recent times have seen many banana plantations replaced by blueberries after banana sales slumped in the late 1990s. # History Permanent European settlement occurred in the 1870s when the Hofmeier family moved to the area to make their selections. Prior to this, the area was inhabited by the Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal people. The name of the town derives from the word "Wiilgulga", which was used by the local Aboriginal people to describe the area, and the Black Apple trees that grew there. The name "Woogoolga" was gazetted in 1888, and changed to the current name of Woolgoolga in 1966.Timbergetting and sawmilling was established in 1883. A government jetty was constructed in 1892 upon which tramways were laid. These tramways led to sawmills in the town which in turn were connected by light railway to the Jesse Simpson Range forest areas. The jetty was demolished over a prolonged period from 1952 to 1956.Woolgoolga was an early centre of Sikh migration to Australia. Sikhs had migrated to New South Wales and Queensland prior to the imposition of the prohibition of non-European migration under the White Australia Policy in 1901 and many of them then led a marginalised life on the north coast of New South Wales and in southeastern Queensland.Some Sikhs began to settle in Woolgoolga during World War II, because war-time labour shortages led to a relaxation of the previous prohibition of non-European labour in the banana industry. After the war they were able to acquire leasehold and freehold banana plantations.Woolgoolga has the largest regional Sikh/Punjabi population in Australia, and they are now said to own 90% of the banana farms and are also diversifying into blueberries. # Weather # Things to do Woolgoolga's coastal location and temperate climate make it a popular tourist destination.The town has less traffic as it was bypassed by the Pacific Highway. Many travellers break their journey in Woolgoolga. The headland at Woolgoolga is a great elevated platform for watching the migrating whales as they journey to warmer waters for calving. The Sydney 2000 Olympics torch relay passed through Woolgoolga, as did the 2006 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay. In 2011, the area hosted Rally Australia, the 10th round of the World Rally Championship. It hosted stages 22 and 25 at Plum Pudding. ## Notable shipwreck On 8 March 1893 a 39-metre vessel named Buster was driven ashore during a storm from the south-east. Buster's anchor cable snapped and its holding chains failed. The vessel eventually beached stern-first 200 metres down the beach just south of the Woolgoolga Lake mouth. The 310 ton vessel, became a total wreck at the mouth of Woolgoolga Lake.Buster was built in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1884. It arrived at Woolgoolga from Sydney in February 1893 to load timber bound for New Zealand.In May 2019 a group of people drove a stolen black Mitsubishi Pajero onto the beach and did irreparable damage to a century-old shipwreck. The perpetrators broke off the most prominent visible parts of Buster. The car was found abandoned at a nearby village.

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